A manicure that lasts a full two weeks can sometimes seem like a beauty miracle. If you don’t have the cash or are too concerned about your nail health to spring for gels or acrylics, it can feel like you’re constantly dealing with chipped polish (ie: literally the last thing anyone wants to add to their to-do list at the end of a long day). That’s why we were so excited to hear about a new manicure hack—called “dip powder nails”— that is supposedly easy to DIY and lasts longer than a gel mani. We talked to a few specialists and reality came crashing down to Earth faster than a chip on a dollar store polish. (That’s a manicure joke.)
Dip powder nails are somewhere between a regular mani and a fake nail. We can consider them a “diet acrylic,” says celebrity manicurist Erica Marton. Instead of using UV rays to seal in your polish, the color comes from a pigmented powder. In between base coats and a sealant, you dip your nails into a little jar of your chosen color (SNSand Revel are the two most popular and vetted manufacturers) for a mani that’s slated to last three to four weeks. The trend isn’t exactly new per se—it’s actually been around for years—but the wonderful world of social media is quickly popularizing the process and helping it stage a comeback.
Beauty blogger Christine of Nailogical recorded a DIY video to walk us through the entire dipping process. As much fun as she has making a crafty mess with her tub of glitter, Christine ultimately agrees with the pros. “As for my overall review, I don’t like this and I’m not going to use it again,” she says. Check out the video below and decide for yourself.
If you’re already fond of more permanent mani solutions, Marton contends that there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give dip powder a shot. “They’re equally healthy to gels and basic acrylics that are already out,” she says. Just make sure you’re checking packaging and asking your manicurist what brand they’re using. And as for the removal process, “There’s no easy way to remove this quickly,” says Zuniga. “We recommend using an electric file and soaking off the remaining product with acetone.” (Ie: Similar to self gel removal.)
So while it won’t hurt your nails any less than the options out there, and it does last longer than traditional polish and gels, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. We’ll see you out there, continuing our hunt for the perfect (and safe!) mani.